"We invite the European Commission to publish its statement for the third time", says Sara Eyckmans from WSRW.
On 5 February 2020, the EU Commission announced that products from Western Sahara should be labelled accordingly. But about 24 hours later, all traces to that statement had been removed from EU websites.
Two days ago, the statement by the Commission was published again, without any changes. The text was identical to the one of 5 February:
"All imported products, including those originating from the Western Sahara, need to comply with the relevant legislation, including the requirement to provide accurate and not misleading information on the country of origin or provenance of those products, which in such case must thus be “Western Sahara”.
Today, in the most bizarre chain-of-events, that statement has once again disappeared from the European Parliament's website.
"It is indecipherable. The reason could be anything from a web-technician looking forward to the weekend, all the way up to pressure from Rabat which will most certainly not be amused with this tangible recognition that Western Sahara is not Morocco. In either event, we look forward to clarifications from the Commission, both on this turn of events and on the issue of labelling", Eyckmans concludes.
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Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.